KinFishers – family history help at Solihull Libraries

Over the autumn and winter 2022/23, Solihull Libraries will be offering free sessions to help you get started with your family history research.

Free access to subscription sites

All Solihull Libraries offer three hours’ free computer access each day to library members, which includes free access to family history websites, Ancestry, Find My Past and The Genealogist.

You are very welcome to drop into your local library anytime during library opening hours and use the PCs for your own research.

Alternatively, if you prefer to bring in your own laptop or tablet and connect to the free library WiFi, you can also access the family history subscriptions from your own device whilst in the library. There is no time limit on using the WiFi.

Staff will do their best to help with any queries, but there may not always be an experienced member of staff around if you do drop in and use library computers or WiFi. If you do get stuck, feel free to email and we’ll try to help. It doesn’t matter if you’re researching people who weren’t from Solihull – we’ll help if we can.

One-to-one help to get started

We know that starting to trace your family tree can be daunting, so if you’d like a bit of support from experienced library staff and volunteer helpers to kickstart your research, then do book for one of our free KinFishers sessions.

You will receive about half an hour of one-to-one help from your booked arrival time. You’re then welcome to stay in the library after the session to continue your research. Staff and/or volunteers will be around for a short while to assist as needed.

Before you visit

It’s easier for us to help you if you have made a start by writing down what you know, and have worked out what it is you want to find out.

There’s information on an earlier article about beginning your research by writing down your direct ancestors as far back as you can, and deciding what it is you want to find out first.

This is a much more efficient way of searching, and less overwhelming than the results you may find by typing a person’s name into the general search box on a family history site. It’s so easy to pick the wrong person from the hundreds or thousands of results, and if you go wrong at the beginning of your search, you can waste weeks, months or even years tracing the wrong family.

Forthcoming sessions

Hopefully, there will be sessions running at various libraries across the Solihull borough over the autumn and winter, so please watch this space for updates as more dates are added. We’ll also be adding details to the general Library Events listings.

If you sign up to our Local History and Heritage Stay Connected email newsletter, you’ll be amongst the first to hear when new family history events are added.

The Core Library, Theatre Square, Touchwood, Solihull B91 3RG

We’re staggering everyone’s arrival time so that we’re able to give you one-to-one help for 30 minutes after your arrival time. Library staff and volunteers will be around until about 12pm to help, but you are very welcome to stay in the library after the session and continue your research.

Booking is essential so please book a place using the links below:

Dickens Heath Library, Old Dickens Heath Road, Dickens Heath, Solihull B90 1SD

A family history group meets regularly at the library – please phone Dickens Heath Library on 0121 744 6078 for further information.

Olton Library, 169A Warwick Rd, Olton, Solihull B92 7AR

Drop into the library on any Saturday morning and library staff will do their best to help you get started with your research. The library is open 10am-1pm on Saturdays.

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